Friday, November 25, 2011

A Southern Thanksgiving

My friend Elizabeth, from Life, Love, Librarianship kindly agreed to guest post for me! Enjoy her rendition of Thanksgiving in her Alabama!

Funnily enough, my Thanksgiving memories and favorite Thanksgiving moments actually have very little to do with Thanksgiving.  Sure we do the big meal and watch the kids attempt a back yard football game, but Thanksgiving is really just a stepping stone.  Just another (albeit food-laden) day to complete before we get to the big show: Christmas. 

Part of the reason Thanksgiving feeling like a tacked-on holiday is because my mom doesn't host Thanksgiving at her house.  My parents and I go to my mother's sister's and we celebrate with her husband, their three kids, spouses, and grandchildren, and my grandparents.  Sometimes there are other random family members or close family friends, but mostly it is our fairly small family.  It actually used to be pretty quiet before everyone started having babies and now there are 6 kids, ages 18 months to 10 years (4 of those kids are boys) so it's certainly not quiet anymore.  But the kids do make it way more fun.  

My aunt makes the turkey and the dressing (this is the South - none of that stuffing business at our table) and few side dishes and then everyone brings a dish.  I bring the rolls (my rolls are the best.  you should try them.) and a dessert for the grownups and one for the kids.  My mom brings her famous sweet potato casserole and the most requested dish, macaroni and cheese.  We eat the cranberry sauce from the can and yellow gravy (basically cream of chicken soup, giblets, and hard boiled eggs - it's delicious, I swear) that only my grandmother can make correctly.  We all eat until we are sick, watch the kiddos run around a bit, and then that's that.  Thanksgiving's over.  Time to get ready for the big show.

My mom and I officially kick off Christmas on Thanksgiving night by watching White Christmas, our favorite Christmas movie.  We'll watch it 5 or 6 times during the Christmas season and even though we know all the lines, it never gets old.  The next day, while the rest of America is waiting in endless lines, we break out the decorations.  

My mom is VERY into Christmas and her house is decorated from top to bottom with two trees, wreaths on every door and front-facing window, her collection of Santas displayed on the mantle, and the focal point - her Christmas village.  It takes all day to get the house fully decorated and while it's exhausting, it's one of my favorite things to do.  We put on our favorite Christmas albums (Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Josh Groban, and Barbara Mandrell just to name a few) and reminisce about each decoration as we lovingly pull it from the box.  We eat Thanksgiving leftovers and sit around as a family, soaking up the joy of the Christmas season.  It's quiet and simple, which is exactly what my family is all about.  

For my small family, Thanksgiving really isn't about the food or the shopping or even getting ready for Christmas.  It's about spending time together, making memories, and enjoying the thrill of the holiday season in our own way.

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